BOOK BLOG: THE LITTLE BOOK OF HYGGE - Cosy friendship in all its forms

Many surveys show the Danes to be the happiest people in Europe and the world, and the quality of hygge seems to be one reason. Hygge, pronounced hoo-guh, is hard to define or translate: friendly cosiness is the closest I've found.

This charming little book is written by Meik Wiking, who works for the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. Hygge matters most on long dark winter nights, and you'd feel it through candles, snuggly blankets, comfort food, board games, and relaxing with a few friends.

Making your life more hyggelig should help you to nourish and enjoy friendships even more. Savouring each good experience, and feeling gratitude for it, are also ways to cultivate hygge. [break in newsletter]

You can make your home cosier by using more wood for floors, walls, furniture, and bringing nature indoors - flowers, twigs, pine cones, fur rugs. And in summer, you can find hygge with bonfires and barbeques out of doors.

It may be useful to explore hygge when you're on your own, and see how you can befriend yourself more fully. But research shows that the optimum number of people for a hyggelig experience is 3-4.

Wiking sensibly acknowledges that Danes' happiness comes from other factors too. The welfare state is still thriving in Denmark, so there's a sense of collective security which has worn thin in Britain. Danes also have a good work-life balance, with high levels of free time.

Have a hyggelig 2017!